The bathrooms at a concert

For my girlfriend’s birthday I bought her tickets to go see her favorite band in concert. She has been to see them many times and really wanted to go again. Since I bought the tickets early they were not too expensive and I was really looking forward to going too. It would be a fun event that we could go to together and make a great memory. When the concert date finally rolled around we drove to it and pushed through the crowd to get as close to stage as we could. Eventually I had to use the bathroom so I pushed my way back out of the throng of people and headed toward the facilities at the venue. Thankfully there was no line at the men’s bathroom but when I entered two of the toilets were overflowing and there was water on the bathroom floor. It was a plumbing nightmare. I tried to keep my feet as dry as I could and as I got further inside I saw all the sinks were turned on but none of them were draining properly. Apparently every drain and pipe in the men’s bathroom had been clogged. I was honestly disgusted; a clean, functioning bathroom is something I have come to take for granted. I can only imagine the difficulties that the plumber will face when they come to fix this bathroom. Not only would they find the pipes packed full of who-knows-what but they would also probably have to replace some of the broken toilets that would not stop running.

clogged drains

Sand getting in our shower

Every summer we visit the beach on vacation and rent a small beach house. It is a nice get-away from our normal daily lives. It is truly relaxing to wake up and walk to a sandy beach every morning instead of climbing into a car for a commute to work. We spend all day at the beach and only come home when everyone is too sandy and sunburnt to stay any longer. Back at the beach house there is an outdoor shower and two indoor showers. The indoor showers have signs that say “No Sand” on them. We were told when we rented the place to rinse off all the sand in the outdoor shower before taking a full shower indoors. I was curious what the sand would do to the showers, they were just plastic and plenty of hot water was always flowing through them. We found out, unfortunately, that sand in the indoor showers caused the drain to clog. My youngest child failed to use the outdoor shower first and went straight inside, still a sandy mess. When the tub of the shower began to fill up we knew something was wrong. I immediately turned off the shower water and called a plumbing company. I hovered anxiously as the plumber went to work on the clogged drain. I was wondering how much the job would cost but I was no longer wondering why the “No Sand” signs were placed at each of the indoor showers. Thankfully the plumber was able to remove the sand and the shower drains properly now.

drain cleaning

Installing a ventilation system

Have you ever considered adding a ventilation system to your home?  I had never even heard of a ventilation system until my HVAC technician recommended it.  I figured that the only way to get fresh air into my house was to open the windows.  Since I live in a region that is cold for about eight months out of the year, we don’t get to open the windows very often.  Today’s ventilation systems offer heat recovery.  That means that the fresh air coming in is preconditioned before it enters your living space.  Rather than make more work for your furnace, the ventilation system actually reduces energy consumption and monthly costs.  There are a whole bunch of advantages to a ventilation system.  You always have a source of fresh air, no matter what the outside weather brings.  The air quality in your home is going to be significantly improved.  Things like dust, pollen, and mites are kept to a minimum, providing relief to allergy symptoms.  Humid air is automatically sent outside, helping to prevent mold and eliminate that uncomfortable sticky feeling.  By keeping windows closed and locked, you avoid exterior noise pollution, fumes, and security risks.  The ventilator is installed directly into your current HVAC system.  You won’t see the unit, but it will work silently, whether your furnace or air conditioner is running or not.  Instead of circulating the same, stale, polluted air throughout the rooms of your house, the ventilator replaces it with fresh outside air.  You’re going to enjoy far greater comfort, fewer illnesses, and reduced monthly utility bills.  These systems quickly pay for themselves.

air purifier

Installing a WIFI thermostat

I like to spend my Saturdays on do-it-yourself projects around the house.  I’ve found that by doing jobs myself, I save money and avoid careless mistakes.  In the past, I have often been dissatisfied by the work of the professionals I hired.  I’ve also been upset by the cost of professional contractors.  Since purchasing my house, I have installed new windows and doors, insulated, hung drywall, and poured a cement patio.  Last weekend, I installed a Wifi enabled thermostat.  In comparison to my other home improvements, this job was fairly small.  It didn’t cost all that much or require much of my time.  In the end, I will probably enjoy it more than anything else I’ve done.  My previous thermostat was an antique.  It’s only feature was a dial to set the temperature.  The entire house needed to be kept at the same temperature. The only way to adjust temperature was to physically walk up to the thermostat and turn the dial.  I can now access my wireless thermostat from my smartphone.  I don’t even need to be home to make adjustments to my HVAC system.  The wireless thermostat sends me regular updates, letting me know if the air filter needs to be changed, or if the HVAC system requires maintenance.  It will even notify my HVAC provider and tell the technician exactly what is wrong with it.  I can program my thermostat to conserve energy when my family is out of the house, and adjust temperature to welcome us home to perfect comfort.  My next project is to set up zones in the house, so that I can customize temperatures room-by-room.

zone control

Upgrading my faucet

I am an assistant athletic director at a Division III college. We take pride in how we treat our fans and athletes, despite only competing at the Division III level. Along with that, we try to make our facilities as nice as possible so not only do people want to come and watch the games, but that some players actually choose to attend our great university because of the facilities as well. We have a one major building that houses our basketball court as well as swimming pool. These matches typically draw a large number of students, fans from the community, as well as alumni. This summer, while school was not in session, I made the suggestion that we remodel our bathrooms in this building because they were getting pretty outdated. I was given the green light to go ahead with the project. Upgrading the faucets and the bathroom plumbing was my first order of business. We washed all the sinks and repainted most of them, while also replacing most of the plumbing behind the wall as well. We finished it off by installing new faucets that did not leak or make any funny noises whatsoever. My hope is that people realize that we care about our athletic facilities and think our programs deserve a nice place to call home. Not everyone will appreciate new plumbing, but a few people have already come up to my office and exclaimed how nice the bathrooms look right now. At the very least, I am glad I made our game day experience even just a little bit better.

plumbing appliances

Quick working HVAC unit

These days everyone wants instant gratification. They want fast food to be made faster and everything to be done on their schedule. No one has any patience. Just the other day I was at a restaurant where a customer was complaining that their burger was taking too long to make and they weren’t going to pay for it. Excuse me but beef can only be cooked so fast. I noticed this same mentality with people and their air conditioning units in the summer. They think the moment they turn on the air conditioner that the whole house should be instantly cold. Unfortunately most of the older air conditioners cannot achieve anywhere near that type of performance. I, however, have a new HVAC unit that can cool the whole house surprisingly fast. I will say that I am not one of those people that expect instant gratification but it sure is nice sometimes. My local HVAC company installed this unit last year and I didn’t have a chance to really try it out before winter came along. Now that we’re in the middle of a hot summer, though, I have had a chance to put its cooling capabilities to the test and I could not be happier. When I get home from work I turn on the air conditioning and the whole house is downright chilly in under an hour. The only thing faster than how quickly this HVAC unit cools down my house in the summer is how quickly the company that installed it comes to do service visits when I call. I am very happy with my purchase.

central HVAC

Zone control makes cooking bearable

When I was younger, I used to be really into cooking and preparing meals. Taking home economy classes in middle school definitely inspired my love for cooking. Whether it was baking desserts or creating the best dinner dish possible, I was always happy to get into the kitchen. As of the last couple years, I have spent less and less time in the kitchen. I think this has been in large part due to the condition of my home. It has not aged well over the last few years. Many of the appliances are in rough shape. Believe it or not, none of the cooking appliances are in bad shape, though. I am more referring to the heater and air conditioner. I don’t know what was wrong with them, all I knew is that my house was either way too cold or much too warm. There was no happy medium. I decided to get an entirely new heating and cooling system set up a year and a half ago. So far, I could not be more content. The HVAC technician installed a system that has zone control technology. This basically means that I can make different rooms different temperatures. One of the reasons I was not cooking was because it was always much too warm in the kitchen. That is no longer the case. I now have the cooling equipment running while I am preparing dinner. Who would have thought a slight upgrade to a better air conditioner would lead to me cooking once again? It has been a true blessing.heater thermostat

Learn how to clean your HVAC unit

There is always room to improve. That is what I tell my son. He has just started running track. He is only in his first year of middle school. While he is young, he has won every event this year and has not lost a single race. Despite his success, I keep telling him that practice is important and that he cannot just slack off if he wants to continue winning. I don’t really care about having the most athletic son in the world, but I want him to appreciate what hard work can make happen. I always tell him that he can be better if he truly wants to be. He can always be more efficient. He can always be faster. There is no limit to those sorts of things. It sounds funny, but this is the approach I take with my HVAC system as well. First, I believe my indoor air quality is top notch and better than most other households in this area. However, I still attempt to make it better each month. How do I do this? First, I swap out the air filters for new ones almost once a month. Second, I wipe down the air vents. Anytime a little bit of dust forms on that vent, I wash it off so there are not little dust particles being blown around all over the place. Finally, I have my system maintained by a professional twice each year. The combination of all these things keeps my units cleaner than the month before. I will do this stuff until the day that I die.

HVAC service plan 

My generator

I’m not going to lie, I live in a pretty prestigious area. On my street are many large houses that people with a lot of money live in. They are large, fancy homes that I personally think are over the top. Although this is true that I live around these homes, my home unfortunately is not one of them. My house is the smallest by far on the street. I love my home though. It has character and it is unique in my mind. Other home owners on this street probably look at my home and wonder why I would want to live on this street in such a small home but I really am not embarrassed at all. I am just happy to live in such a nice neighborhood. It is beautiful year round, but it is especially over the top at Christmas time. The decorations and lights that these people put on for display their lawns is crazy. It’s like I’m going blinded by the brightness of it all. That was not the case last night though. We experienced a bad winter storm and everyone’s power went out. Everyone’s power but mine went out to be specific. I own an automatic backup generator. The generator is outside our home so it is not even an eye sore to us at all. When the power went out, the generator turned on automatically within seconds. I didn’t even have to trudge through the snow outside to turn it on! For the first time ever, my home was the brightest on the street.

electrical wiring 

 

 

The importance of thermostats

Our thermostat at work did not seem to be working. Even when we adjusted it up to 78, it was still cold in the office. We knew it wasn’t our central air and heat itself because it was a fairly new unit. We called an HVAC team to test our systems and thermostat. After several hours of tests, they determined our first guess was correct. It was simply the thermostat which wasn’t working. Even though our central heating and air conditioning system was fairly new, apparently the previous company had not replaced our thermostats. We had the old-fashioned kind. Old-fashioned thermostats adjust by mercury in a glass cylinder that floats from left to right – similar to the operations of a thermometer. Today’s digital thermostats get more precise temperature readings. Once the HVAC technicians replaced all of our thermostats, our heating issue was solved. Strange that none of us realized the thermostats had not been changed. We decided to stick with the new HVAC company to maintain and service our equipment. They set up a regular schedule to change our air filters. They also gave us a service package which would cover any basic repairs needed in the next couple of years. What started out as a frustrating day ended in a good way. Our problem was resolved quickly and thoroughly, and we established a relationship with professionals who would look after our heating and air conditioning needs. Because of the excellent service we received, several of my co-workers contracted with the technicians to provide for their HVAC needs in their homes. That turned out to be a prosperous day for them, I am sure.thermostat